Summer has officially begun at CMH. Both Bobbie Burns and the Bugaboo Lodges are geared up and ready to rock this summer. Speaking of rock – Dave Cochrane and guides in the Bugaboos are excited to offer a brand new glacier hike based out of the Bugaboo lodge. This stunning trek allows hikers to get up close and personal with the world famous granite spires that dominate the view from the lodge. Guests will fly by helicopter to the boundary of Bugaboo Provincial Park where they will unload and prepare for an epic hiking adventure right into the heart of the park. Traveling across a blanketed glacier and winding beneath towering granite rock spires, the day is accompanied by unmatched panoramic views. The spires and surrounding glaciers that carved them out are a geological marvel, making this hike a mind-blowing experience.
Finishing up the last of "lodge training" this week, CMH staff were able to experience this hike first hand. Exhilarated from the day, one of our returning lodge staff said, “This is one of the most amazing hikes I have ever experienced. Spending a day exploring the glacier and wandering beneath these peaks, it was as if I was a privileged guest in Mother Nature’s most magnificent Cathedral. Those towering spires left me completely breathless and awestruck. You really have to experience it to understand how overwhelmingly powerful it is. I will never forget today.” Check out this picture and more photos, taken by CMH guide Lyle Grisdale.
CMH Bugaboos: CMH staff taking a break on a Bugaboos glacier walk in Pernicular Pass. The two towers are located in Pernicular Pass. July 8, 2012. Photo credit: Lyle Grisdale
This guided hike requires no previous experience, just a descent level of fitness for a day of solid hiking. With the Bobbie Burns already welcoming guests and the Bugaboos first trip beginning on July 12, there is still time to add this adventure into your summer schedule. Don’t miss your chance to explore these amazing mountains. Our guides are really excited to share the amazing new areas they have scoped out. When they are jazzed up, you know it will be an amazing summer.
For more information or questions about an exciting summer adventure trip, visit our website or contact CMH Reservations at 1-(800) 661-0252 to book your space.
Guest post by Jeff Horvath.
Photos courtesy of Ryan Bavin.
CMH Summer Adventures approached Canmore Collegiate High School’s SAGE Program and offered a trip of a lifetime to six students. The SAGE Program is the Stoney Adventure Group Experience. It is an intervention program to increase the high school completion rates for First Nations students. Currently in Alberta, First Nations students have a high school completion rate of 32%. Research clearly shows that without a high school education, the potential for social problems increases.
The SAGE program teaches students that they can face and overcome obstacles by using mountain travel as a metaphor for challenges in life. By increasing the students’ resiliency, we can transfer these experiences to the students’ school life.
And it appears to be working. Canmore Collegiate had its highest group of graduating First Nation students in 2011. Six students from the Stoney First Nation walked across the convocation stage in the spring. CMH wanted to celebrate this achievement by offering the graduates a trip to Bugaboo Lodge for two days of heli-hiking.
In early July the students travelled to the breathtaking site of the Bugaboo Lodge, with the panoramic views of the famous spires nearby. The students were blown away by the beauty. We were all anxious to get aboard the helicopter, and the boys in our group were giddy and laughing nervously as we took off for the first time.
We landed on Groovy Ridge, and exited the helicopter to stand in the snow. Paul and Ryan, our guides, soothed any nervousness we had with their professional confidence and reassurance. Paul is a walking encyclopedia of mountain knowledge and making learning fun is his strength. Botany, geology, anthropology and climatology were all discussed as we hiked. One group member jokingly asked why the sky was blue - Paul had an answer! We ended the hike after some snow sliding in our rain pants. Feeling like world-class lugers, we eventually met up with the helicopter for the ride back to the lodge.
We arrived back to the lodge in time to get ready for the best tasting barbecue we’ve ever had. After dinner, Pat Morrow gave a presentation about local climbing legend Conrad Kain. It was enlightening to hear more about the history of the area and how it plays a big part in the mountain climbing community. That night we had the best sleep in the crisp mountain air.
The next day we were very excited: We were going to experience the via ferrata! Mikey, our CMH Guide, gave us a safety talk as we got our harnesses and safety gear on. We then followed him up for the most exhilarating experience of our lives. We surprised ourselves with our comfort on the rock face. Our past climbing experience in the SAGE program helped us but we had never climbed that high in our lives. We celebrated when we reached the summit by having lunch with the spectacular views of the Bugaboo range all around us.
We want to thank CMH for their generosity and commitment to First Nations students on their journey in education. Our two days felt like a week and this truly was the experience of a lifetime. We were humbled by CMH honouring our students for graduating. My educational philosophy has always been to provide students with experiences that expand their world view. With a greater world view, young people can dream bigger and provide them with the hope needed to achieve great things. CMH has given these young people an experience they will never forget.
In the Stoney language, we would like to say "Ish Nish" (thank you).
Everyone who spends a summer vacation with CMH comes away with at least one (if not many) 'favourite' guide. No doubt many of them develop this attachment with CMH Summer Adventures Guide Paul Lazarski. I had a conversation with Paul last week that I'd like to share today. You'll soon learn why he's a favourite!
JC: Paul, you’ve been a hiking guide with CMH for a number of years now. When did you start with CMH and what lead you here?
PL: I stared guiding with CMH in the mid-90s. I knew the Bugaboos well, having hiked and climbed here during the summers of 1988 and 1989. At that time, my passion was photography and I was able to combine my love of mountains with my fascination with mountain landscapes. I made numerous trips into the spires, would camp or bivouac on the highest pinnacles and wait for the magic of sunset and the subsequent warm glow of morning light. My first working trip as a guide was as the tour leader for a my own photographic expeditions in which I would bring my guests into the area, take advantage of the lodges and spend the time teaching photography. It was on these first few cooperative endeavours with CMH that I fell in love with the lodges and the area. I started working for CMH the next season, and as they say 'the rest is history'. Its truly amazing how time passes so quickly when you do something you love in a place that you love.
JC: I’ve known you for a number of those years and I know you are very passionate about the geography and human history in the Columbia Mountains of Western Canada. Can you share here one or two gems that fascinate you?
PL:I think passion for an area comes through knowledge, the more you explore, the more more you learn, the more you realize your place within an environment, the greater your natural fascination and excitement will become.
I've always been impressed by, and strive to understand how peoples in the past experienced the same place that I am experiencing. When I think of the early Bugaboo mountaineers, with their hemp ropes, long ice axes, canvas & woollen everything and the occasional iron spike to hammer into the mountain for protection, I can't help but wonder that they may have felt exactly the same thing for these peaks that I do today. I like to think that they didn't see them as something to fear but did what they did because they valued what I value. The simple timeless humanity of that gives me comfort.
I'm also facinated by geology. Often thought of as the most boring class in school, geology out here is a living lesson in creative visualization. Here you can imagine great ice sheets filling now vacant valleys, hold a shiny golden cube of iron pyrite or have lunch atop a house sized boulder reminiscent of those carried into the Great Plaines by massive walls of ice.
JC: Why do you feel it is so important for people to visit these mountains? What are the big lessons mountains can teach us that we can take back to our every day lives?
PL: The best way of me answering that is to say what matters most to me and hoping that, if I've been successful as a guide, I've been able to impart some of those things to my guests. If they take away something of what I care about then I've accomplished something valuable. At the very least mountains can teach us how important the process of growth is in our lives, whether it be challenging ourselves physically, learning some new subtleties of Nature, gaining an alternate perspective on life, or the simple fact that everyone has a personal story to be proud of. To me what we do actually has little do with mountains themselves. Its the awe-inspiring power of trying something new in a place that takes one outside of their regular lives that's makes the CMH experience incredibly special. I can honestly say that every guest I've guided has discovered something, that if they are open to it, can greatly enrich their lives.
JC: Thanks for sharing, Paul. Where can we find you this coming summer?
PL: I'm looking forward to returning to the Bugaboos. I've worked in the Adamants and Bobbie Burns as well and love both areas equally. There is something very special as a guide, however, in returning to an area that you know intimately well as I do the Bugaboos. Really knowing an area allows you to better choreograph the hiking experience for your guests. It also gives you the opportunity to explore the many hidden gems that lie at the margins of our more regular hiking terrain. That's one of my greatest contributions to the Bugaboos I think, to continually expand the hiking terrain & routes by connecting the areas I know well. This keeps my excitement alive and greatly lessens our impact on the environment by spreading out our use. To be honest, I just love exploring and the varied terrain of the Bugaboos allows me to continue to do that.
To share your your summer vacation with Paul and his colleagues at CMH Bugaboo Lodge this summer, call one of our Summer Adventure experts at 1-800-661-0252 or to receive our brochure, e-mail us.
photo by Paul Lazarski